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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Hanged elderly Cumbria man ‘let down’ by social services

AN elderly Cumbria man who killed himself after his wife went into care was “let down” by social services, according to his daughter.

An inquest at Barrow Town Hall yesterday heard that 85-year-old George Kenrick, from Askam, was found hanged at his home on February 15 by his son-in-law Peter Swierkocki.

Mr Kenrick had previously tried to end his life after going missing for 24 hours in November last year but was found by police on Corney Fell.

During the inquest, Mr Swierkocki, from Dalton, was asked by South and East Cumbria coroner Ian Smith if there had been anything that had made Mr Kenrick unhappy.

He said: “He was unhappy about the fact that his wife was suffering from dementia and had been taken into a care home.”

A pathologist’s report said Mr Kenrick, who had joined the army twice in his youth, showed no traces of drugs or alcohol in his bloodstream.

Mr Smith said: “Did he ever talk about ending it all or anything along those lines?”

Mr Swierkocki said: “Not to me, but he was not happy. He was the last one in his family and he said he didn’t see why he should be here and not the younger relatives.”

The court heard Mr Kenrick was fully independent and did not show any signs of dementia.

When asked if the family wanted to say anything further, Mr Kenrick’s daughter, Margaret Swierkocki, said he had talked about “doing away with himself” numerous times after his wife was taken into Combe House Care Home, and she and her younger sister had raised concerns with social services after he went missing.

She said: “Social services did not follow up on him like they said they would. With a vulnerable older person like Dad that is the least they could have done.

“If they had done maybe we would not be here today.”

Mr Smith adjourned the inquest so the court could hear evidence from social services, who had not been asked to attend yesterday.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

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